Slim pickings for olive crop in Cyprus

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Although other Mediterranean oil producers are also suffering from low production, this appears to be down to a different kind of unfavourable weather.

As reported by the Association Press, high spring temperatures, a cool summer and abundant rain are taking a big bite out of the olive harvest in some key regions of Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Those conditions have also helped the proliferation of the olive fly and olive moth.

The shortfall could translate into higher shelf prices for some olive oils and is dealing another blow to southern Europe’s bruised economies as they limp out of a protracted financial crisis.

Greek growers, however, anticipate windfall profits. Greece is the world’s third-largest producer and is set to more than double its annual output, to 300,000 metric tons. That is good news for farms in places such as Crete and the southern Peloponnese region where Greece’s acute financial crisis in recent years had left growers short of cash for maintenance and investment.

The predicted shrinkage in EU output should also be offset in part, experts say, by Spanish stocks left over from last year’s record yield.

“The law of supply and demand is a basic law of the market,” Joaquim Freire de Andrade, president of growers’ association Olivum in Portugal’s southern Alentejo region, the country’s olive heartland told AP. “It’s a tough year.”

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